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Curiosity Update, sols 534-540: Over Dingo Gap, onto softer sand

Emily Lakdawalla • February 13, 2014

After more than two months of very slow driving due to concern about the wheels and time spent choosing whether to enter "Dingo Gap" or not, Curiosity has safely crossed the dune and resumed longer drives, achieving 75 meters and crossing the 5-kilometer mark on sol 540.

The Two Faces of Phoebe

Daniel Macháček • February 13, 2014

Cassini flew past Phoebe on June 11, 2004, on its way to entering Saturn orbit. The flyby was almost perfect but overexposure of some images have prevented color mosaics from being produced. Even though Phoebe's body is gray and dull in color, the absence of color images always provoked me. By using VIMS data, I have now produced color mosaics.

What is NASA for?

Craig Hardgrove • February 12, 2014

Planetary scientist Craig Hardgrove takes a look at what NASA really does for humanity.

Possible hope for Yutu: "Situation is getting better," but no details [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2014

A terse Xinhua news report posted today says there may be some sign of life from Yutu, now that the Sun has risen on the third lunar day since Chang'e 3 landed. It is frustratingly non-specific. UPDATE: Amateur radio operators have detected a radio signal from the rover.

The 2014 Legislative Blitz is at Capacity!

Casey Dreier • February 11, 2014

A tremendous response to our call for space advocates has pushed our small team to the limit. A great problem.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

Behind-the-scenes story of Yutu: Promoting space exploration in China

Quanzhi Ye • February 11, 2014

Promoting the story of Yutu to the Chinese public through social media: a successful case of science outreach.

All's well in cruise phase for Mars-bound spacecraft MAVEN and Mars Orbiter Mission

Emily Lakdawalla • February 11, 2014

A hundred days after launch, India's Mars Orbiter Mission is doing just fine, and so is NASA's MAVEN.

New Hills, Old Secrets

Bill Dunford • February 10, 2014

Exploring a set of newly named hills on Mars reveals tantalizing clues to the planet's story.

Discovery Next

Van Kane • February 08, 2014

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the Discovery program is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. The creativity of the scientific community has given us a wide assortment of missions in the past and is likely to surprise and delight us again.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Mystery Rock, Mission Celebrates 10 Years

A.J.S. Rayl • February 07, 2014

In the storied history of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission, January 2014 will likely be remembered as one of the most memorable months of all.

ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it

Emily Lakdawalla • February 07, 2014

It's with great sadness that I report that the Goddard Space Flight Center team has determined that we will not be able to regain control of the venerable spacecraft ICE/ISEE-3 when it passes by Earth this year, after a 30-year journey around the Sun.

Slate's Misleading Hit Piece on the Future of NASA

Casey Dreier • February 06, 2014

A response to Slate's recent piece on the future of NASA, correcting many of its myths and misconceptions about how NASA works.

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding, and I need your help

Jason Davis • February 06, 2014

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding to cover the entire solar system! But before we proceed, I'm asking for feedback.

Looking Backward: Curiosity gazes upon the setting Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2014

A few days ago, Curiosity looked westward after sunset and photographed Earth setting toward the mountainous rim of Gale crater.

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 05, 2014

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica

Casey Dreier • February 05, 2014

Cosmos returns in fine form in its penultimate episode. Sagan explores the historical and scientific precedents for the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI) and our human desires to not be alone in the universe.

Curiosity update, sols 521-533: Assessing Dingo Gap

Ken Herkenhoff • February 04, 2014

While continuing to perform regular wheel health assessments, Curiosity took a sharp right turn and headed for Dingo Gap. On sol 533, they performed a "toe dip" that parked the rover atop the dune with a good view down into the valley.

ExoMars baby pictures: Spacecraft core module delivered to assembly site

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2014

The European Space Agency announced yesterday a significant milestone in the development of the next Mars mission: the core module of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has been delivered.

Naming asteroids in honor of Nelson Mandela

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2014

In which I ask the Internet to tell me about people who deserve to have an asteroid named for them because of their work to promote racial equality, human rights, and social justice.

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